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Mondavi festival explores migration

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From page B6 | February 01, 2013 |

DAVIS — In a unique confluence of events, University of California, Davis entities —including the Mondavi Center, the Davis Humanities Institute and the departments of art studio, performance studies, music, theatre and dance, and sociology — come together to explore “migration.”

The thinking, said Sam Nichols, one of the festival’s many organizers, is that “migration takes many forms” and that its impact, and the process itself, manifests itself in several ways.

The festival’s official name is “Worlds of Discovery and Loss: the Art of Migration” and in its mission statement, it says that the festival “looks at the creative worlds generated by migration, and tries to locate various boundaries, both real and imagined.”

The festival goes to Sunday, Feb. 3 in the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Opening the festival are two fitting events. An art exhibition of large-scale works on paper and small objects, titled “Drawings on Migrations,” will open in the lobby of the Mondavi Center. Curated by UC Davis Studio Art Professor Robin Hill, the works will be by artists Chau Huynh, Lisa Rybovich Crallé, Alan Hopkins and Meredith Tromble, and will remain on display until Feb. 28.

The festival mostly focuses on art recently created, and not necessarily on art created by people during a historically significant migratory period. Many works are being created and premiered for the festival.

In particular, student composers will work with composer-in-residence Lei Liang —himself a Chinese-born American composer — as well as getting to work with the renowned Calder Quartet.

Groups that are some of the pillars of music at UC Davis — the Empyrean Ensemble and the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, led by Christian Baldini — will also perform premieres and fitting works at their concerts.

In addition to the art exhibition and the many concerts, there will be an evening of theater works — two choreographies and two extracts from a play — by candidates for the master of fine arts degree. Also, there will be a “Late Night of European Cabaret” with Bella Merlin, accompanied by Michael Seth Orland, piano.

Following the festival is an appropriately-timed visit to the campus by author Isabel Wilkerson, whose book “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” has been designated UC Davis’s Campus Community Book Project of the year, which brings with it its own year-long series of events aimed at keeping a dialogue going among the diverse community.

Through these and other works, the festival will doubtless challenge the notion of migration itself.

Professor Robin Hill said, “Artists are a migratory species” and “(a)rtists who begin a work of art purposefully, not knowing where it will take them, who require a sense of being lost in order to arrive somewhere, are also performing a kind of migration.”

Many of the events are free.

For more information contact Phil Daley at pedaley@ucdavis.edu or 530-400-1858.

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